This Week in Native American News (4/19/19): You Don't Look Native, Indigenous Designs, and Sacred Sites

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April 19, 2019


The True Story Of Proud, Young Native Americans

“You Don‘t Look Native to Me“ shows excerpts from the lives of young Native Americans from around Pembroke, Robeson County, North Carolina, where 89% of the city’s population identifies as Native American. from Maria Sturm

“You Don‘t Look Native to Me“ shows excerpts from the lives of young Native Americans from around Pembroke, Robeson County, North Carolina, where 89% of the city’s population identifies as Native American. from Maria Sturm

Romanian photographer Maria Sturm says her project "You Don't Look Native To Me", a series documenting the lives of young Native Americans, all started from a conversation with her stepfather. "[He] told me about his friend Dr Jay Hansford C. Vest, an enrolled member of the Monacan Indian Nation," she tells Refinery29.

"At the time, my stepfather told me that the tribe was unrecognised. In fact, the Monacan were among six Virginian tribes that were only federally recognised for the first time in January 2018," she continues. "I stumbled over that word: unrecognised. What does that mean? Why are there people that aren't recognised? What are the criteria for it and who are the faces behind the institutions deciding who you are and who you are not?"

Read the Full Story Here


It's disrespectful for non-Indigenous artists to make a profit off our designs

The National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian Institution. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Mukluks

The National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian Institution. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Mukluks

A recent CBC article looked at a debate in Inuvik, N.W.T., over non-Indigenous artists selling traditional-style crafts at local markets. It sparked a large discussion online, including this social media post by Myrna Pokiak, an Inuvialuit woman from Tuktoyaktuk now living in Yellowknife. It has been edited for clarity and length.

Some will agree, some will disagree, some will be angry, others will learn, but this has been keeping me awake at night and giving me flashbacks to a very difficult time in my artistic journey.

Until theft of your art form happens to you, it cannot be understood. It's personal. We share our culture to show our pride, not intending for those we teach to profit off the gifts we give.

When the woman in Inuvik said she wasn't copying anyone and she draws her own designs, those words stung. Clearly she does not know enough about our culture or respect the gifts she received — she's profiting and going against the unspoken history of our culture.

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When Rivers Were Trails: an indigenous take on Oregon Trail

lutheran indian ministries native news - when rivers were trails

When Rivers Were Trails is a "Native-themed decision-based RPG" based on the classic Apple ][+ game "Oregon Trail," in which you play an 1890 Anishinaabeg person who has been forced off your land in Fond du Lac, Minnesota and must migrate through the northwest to California.

The game was created by Elizabeth LaPensée -- an Anishinaabe game creator from Baawaating -- and a team of more than 20 indigenous writers and artists, including visual artist Weshoyot Alvitre and composers Supaman and Michael Charette.

LaPensée says that she used to joke that she wanted an Oregon Trail-style tee with the slogan "You have died of colonization," and that was the germ of the idea that she pitched to Dr. Nichlas Emmons for the Indian Land Tenure Foundation's project to develop K-12 Lessons of Our Land curriculum.

The writers used drew on their own families' stories of displacement to craft the narrative and interactions in the game.

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The world mourns Notre Dame Cathedral's destruction. But some ask: What about our sacred sites?

Native American tribes believe Bears Ears is the last of undisturbed sacred lands. Mark Stevens, CC BY-NC-SA

Native American tribes believe Bears Ears is the last of undisturbed sacred lands. Mark Stevens, CC BY-NC-SA

After the Notre Dame Cathedral was partially destroyed by a fire Monday, funds immediately started to roll in for reconstruction.

With an outpouring of support from across the world, many Indigenous people asked, where is this support when Indigenous people fight for their sacred sites?

"I've been to the Notre Dame & could only wonder, why Indigenous People's most holy sites are viewed as less sacred than this man-made building?" Navajo activist Klee Benally wrote in a public Facebook and Instagram post. "As it burns & consolatory outpourings flow from throughout the world, I can't help but reflect with many of my brothers & sisters in struggles to defend the sacred, on the deafening silence we've endured when our most holy sites have been maliciously burned & maimed in the name 'progress.'"

Read the Full Story Here


It's hard to fit so much news in such a small space.
To read all of this week's news, visit the LIM Magazine.

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